Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Systematic Destruction Of The US Middle Class

Max Keiser interviews David Degraw about the concentration of wealth and power at the top in the United States.



Part two of the interview:

I'm Not Loving It

One more reason not to eat at McDonald's. As if we didn't have enough already.

Ohio McDonald’s tells employees to vote Republican if they want to continue receiving raises and benefits.

Apparently this Ohio McDonald's franchise operator also may have violated Ohio's law against political intimidation of employees.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What Republican And Democratic Tax Cuts Look Like

Here's a graph from the Washington Post on what the Republican and Democratic tax cuts may look like. Of course, much of what actually is enacted will depend on the outcome of the election.

click on image to enlarge

Crowd Sourcing Johnny Cash Video

Individual frame drawings submitted by people around the world make up this video. Courtesy of The Johnny Cash Project.

                                                                                     

How People Get Hurt At Burning Man

This is a chart of the injuries and incidents at burning man from 2007 through 2009. For better resolution you can click here.


via: GOOD

Visualizing NFL Statistics

This is a unique way for NFL fans to look at team and individual statistics. The search by name feature is fun too.

My Beef With Meat

I used to love a good hamburger or beefsteak like just about every other American. I ate beef, pork or chicken pretty much on a daily basis. But I started to learn that my consumption of these foods in large amounts actually was damaging my health, and also the environment. Some of this information came from my doctor. I had a successful outcome in a bout with prostate cancer, high cholesterol, weight gain that, although not excessive, was leading to other health problems. These issues started to get me to seriously look at what I was putting in my body. Then I saw the documentary film Food Inc. on cable television. I saw that food production methods in this country not only made meat unhealthy for human consumption, but also had profound effect on animals and the overall environment.

I had misgivings about what I considered at the time to be rather moralistically sounding pronouncements about the negative effects of eating beef, but I had a funny feeling that they certainly made sense. So about a year ago I stopped eating red meat. I also stopped eating chicken and pork for what it’s worth because I understood that these foods also used questionable production methods that could effect consuming humans negatively. Like beef, pork and poultry mass production methods effect the environment profoundly. Bacon, of course, seemed to be one of he hardest meats I had to give up.

The results of eliminating these foods a year later? I’ve lost 25 pounds. My digestive system works better and I get some benefit in knowing I’m not supporting a broken corporate meat production system while I also help to improve the environment. I’m not one of the people who stopped eating meat because I was necessarily concerned about the cruelty to animals. That is a noble consideration, but eliminating meat from my diet just seemed to make sense. I felt I didn’t want to support the broken system given the common sense arguments about the negative effects it has on humans, the environment and animals.

I think that those of you who eat beef and other meats still should be able to consume it. But I think it’s important that you know that if you choose to eat these meats you can help the environment by reducing your consumption and by buying from a producer or market that raises meat from animals in a natural way. The video entitled The Secret Life Of Beef helps make my point.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Be Careful What You Buy That's Made In China

First it was baby food, then toys, and counterfeit drugs, now this....

Guns God And The Black Panthers Are Coming

This is the same sort of bullshit I ran into almost on a daily basis in East Texas and Montana when I was working for the Obama campaign during the presidential race. God and Guns, that's all they talk about. "They're going to take my gun away, or he's really a Muslim terrorist Antichrist..... and it wasn't a Saturday Night Live skit. Then of course. there's also a deep seated fear of anyone who's not white gaining power. Rather un-fucking believable how ignorant large groups of people are in this country.

Obama's campaign had a handout that addressed his position on guns quite clearly, since it was always coming up. If you got a chance to discuss the handout or give them a copy they'd say it's a lie. "Cus my uncle Joe told me he read it on the internet and heard it on FOX News"

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

WANTED POSTER Tea Party Woman Beating Bully


Click to enlarge poster to enlarge

This angry thug and defenseless woman beater (pictured in the wanted poster) should be brought to justice. We have a video of the crime from the KYPost.com and also another angle here. We should demand that the police take action. Every effort should be made to stop this type of political activity by the Tea Party or anyone else, whenever and wherever it takes place.

Kentucky US Senate candidate Rand Paul should denounce the thugs who participated in the beat down of this woman. The victim Lauren Valle of the political action group Republicorp has apparently filed a complaint with Lexington, KY police.

Tea Party Thugs Beat Defenseless Woman Counter Protester

I think this should be one of the top news stories in the country. Rand Paul's Tea Party supporters beat on a defenseless and outnumbered woman protester. The woman was attempting to deliver a "employee of the month" award from the political action group MoveOn. to Paul before the Kentucky Senate candidates debate last night. Outrageous would be putting it mildly. Could this be a glimpse into the future should these angry white guy tea party "men" actually gain political power?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Keep Pushing Till It's Understood

We Will Own You

I thought I was already owned. This Republicorp video features talented local actor Steffon Moody. Republicorp is a website that lampoons Republican ideals. Another way Democrats deal with the crisis using humor instead of brickbats.

Headline: California Is Broke Maybe Time To Leave - Could It Happen Here?

"California Is Broke: 19 Reasons It May Be Time For Everyone To Leave The State For Good"
Business Insider has the above story which points out that California is basically broke. They go on to recommend that it's time for you to get the hell out if you live there.

But what Washingtonians should garner from headlines such as these is that the government gridlock instead of dealing with problems that need fixing, that the sunshine state is now become famous for, could also happen here if Tim Eyman's sponsored Initiative 1053 is approved by voters.
"Tim Eyman's proposal to create California-style political gridlock in Washington. Backed by BP, Tesoro, and Wall Street banks, Initiative 1053 would allow just 17 legislators to prevent a majority from taking action on a responsible, balanced approach to the budget. This minority veto is undemocratic and makes it easier for big corporations to influence legislation. California has the same two-thirds rule and it has caused such a mess of partisan gridlock there's an initiative to repeal it on the California ballot. Conservative special interests like BP and Bank of America are funding I-1053 because they want to keep their tax loopholes and giveaways." progressive voters guide
The budget crises in California have been brought about starting when conservatives got together a few years back and sold a "pleasant sounding" but radical bill of goods
ballot initiative to voters that required the California State Assembly to have at least a two-thirds majority in order to pass any budget or tax increase. This is basically the same BS that Eyman's initiative 1053 proposes. The effect of the law in California is to restrict the party in the majority, which in California, as of late, has historically been the Democrats.

Instead of voters deciding tax and budget policy by supporting like minded politicians to create a majority who then create and implement tax and budget policy, the California laws have created a
de facto tyranny of the minority. Democrats now control a majority in both chambers of the California assembly, but not enough of a majority to reach two thirds. You'd think a few moderate Republicans would be willing to join with the democrats to reach the required two-thirds majority to pass budgets and needed taxes. But instead it turns out that Republican assembly members in California are so conservative that they simply refuse to cooperation. They then attack the left for doing nothing and use the crisis as political fodder at election time. (also see US Congress, Republicans, filibuster)




Turns Out First Republican President Would Of Probably Loved Glee

Andrew Sullivan makes the case that we've probably already had a gay president.

Republicans Announce Number One Objective If They Gain Control Of Congress

Let’s see what could it be? Create jobs, end the wars, tax cuts for the rich, repeal heathcare reform, get rid of social security, cut spending, end the so called bailouts, stop same sex marriages, make sure everyone has access to guns, keep DADT, stop regulating banks and financial institutions, country first, wrap everyone in the flag, well not quite.

Senator Mitch "the bitch" McConnell quoted in a interview with the National Journal stated that:
"The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."
Doesn’t this show that the Republicans only real disingenuous objective is to gain and maintaining political power and not doing what is necessary to improve the standard of life for average Americans. Republican house minority leader John Beohner, when asked recently about the Republican's position on so called pro family and traditional values issues, stated that if Republicans gain control of congress they will “not be any different then we’ve been”. Okay that means LGBT rights will be denied. The religious right will have a strong influence over legislation affecting families. More tax cuts for the rich instead of the middle class. On and on it goes. In other words, a return to the Bush era political culture. Boy what fun, a return to the failed angry old white guy politics of yesteryear.


The 8 Biggest Republican Lies That Conservative Voters Believe


Have a relative that's a Republican or Tea Party supporter. You may want to send them this post. These are the 8 biggest lies Republicans have been regurgitating this election cycle.

The Democratic Party did not do a good job of blowing its own horn when it actually managed to accomplish some remarkable things during the first two years of the Obama administration. The Democrats passed a healthcare reform package that will eventually save tax payers money and bring healthcare coverage to nearly everyone. They saved the economic system from total collapse. They created millions of jobs with the stimulus package. The started the process for getting the US military out of Iraq. They actually reduced the deficit. They passed the legislation that regulates the financial industry.They lowered taxes for 95% of working families. They saved the American auto industry from total collapse.

If a Republican's lips are moving their probably saying something like this:

1) President Obama tripled the deficit:

Reality: Bush's last budget had a $1.416 trillion deficit. Obama's first budget reduced that to $1.29 trillion.

2) President Obama raised taxes, which hurt the economy:

Reality: Obama cut taxes. 40% of the "stimulus" was wasted on tax cuts, which only create debt, which is why it was so much less effective than it could have been. The tax cuts actually lowered taxes for 95% of working families.

3) President Obama bailed out the banks

Reality: While many people conflate the "stimulus" with the bank bailouts, the bank bailouts were requested by President Bush and his Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson. (Paulson also wanted the bailouts to be "non-reviewable by any court or any agency.") The bailouts passed and began before the 2008 election of President Obama. 700 billion dollars was authorized by congress to bail out the banks, the program was known as TARP. Most of it will be repaid, estimates now predict that all but about 50 billion dollars will be repaid by the banks. Some experts predict the government could even make a profit on the money they loaned to banks and financial institutions.

4) The stimulus didn't work:

Reality: The stimulus worked, but was not enough. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus raised employment by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million jobs.

5) Businesses will hire if they get tax cuts:

Reality: A business hires the right number of employees to meet demand. Having extra cash does not cause a business to hire, but a business that has a demand for what it does will find the money to hire. Businesses want customers, not tax cuts.

6) Health care reform costs $1 trillion:

Reality: The health care reform reduces government deficits by $138 billion.

7) Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, is "going broke," people live longer, fewer workers per retiree, etc.

Reality: Social Security has run a surplus since it began, has a trust fund in the trillions, is completely sound for at least 25 more years and cannot legally borrow so cannot contribute to the deficit (compare that to the military budget!) Life expectancy is only longer because fewer babies die; people who reach 65 live about the same number of years as they used to.

8) Government spending takes money out of the economy:

Reality: Government is We, the People and the money it spends is on We, the People. Many people do not know that it is government that builds the roads, airports, ports, courts, schools and other things that are the soil in which business thrives. Many people think that all government spending is on "welfare" and "foreign aid" when that is only a small part of the government's budget.

via: Campaign For America's Future (see original story with reference links here)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

NYT Frank Rich Nails It

Frank Rich at the NYT has a great column this week titled "what happened to the change we can believe in". It's a gem.

Green Goddess Shills For General Electric

This video appears to be going viral. I like the woman's intention, acting and enthusiasm. It seems all sweet fun and so now. She very good at trying to get us all to be green by helping her win the big GE sponsored contest. But, I have that funny feeling in my stomach that general electric really isn't that interested in greenness.

They are more interested in the time honored public relations ploy that makes us think they actually care about the environment when it probably is really an afterthought. The video got that BP oil spill smelling stink about it. Alone on it's face the green goddess makes a compelling argument to join in the fun. I guess by posting the video I'm actually helping her with her shilling. It's a great example of how we all get co-opted no matter how much we try to avoid it.

The Rich Sign Pact With Satan


Tax Data Show Richest 1 Percent Took a Hit in 2008, But Income Remained Highly Concentrated at the Top — Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

It started with Ronald Reagan's trickle down economics. The theory was remove regulations on business which would let corporations make unlimited profits that would then somehow "trickle down" to us peons. Except they lied. The rich ended up keeping their money to themselves. The greedy bastards apparently don't realize that if the middle class has no money they can't buy the products and services offered by their companies. The last time the disparity between the rich and and the peons was this large was around the time of the Great Depression, an economic atmosphere eerily similar to the present day. But greed and a I got mine mindset apparently rules the day with these devils.

Delay Is What Will Cause Cost Overruns On Tunnel Project

Today there were a couple of told you so posts here and there about a story in the Seattle Times about the potential for cost overruns on the deep bore tunnel project. Apparently the ride your bicycle or die crowd haven’t ever built or remodeled a house. Because if they had they would learn the reality of the fact that there are always cost overruns when you build anything of scale. Cost overruns are the only real remaining flimsy arrow they have in their quivers and they continue to fire away. As I have said before, this is the definition of a red herring argument. The realistic argument concerning the tunnel should be how to reduce cost overruns as much as possible. What these bloggers are really saying is we don’t want a tunnel no matter what the reasoning. I think it is disingenuous for them to not come out and just say that instead of using the cost overrun ruse.

Compare the cost overruns argument by opponents of the tunnel with the conservatives argument against the health care reform legislation. The right wingers say it will cost to much and then do everything possible to obstruct and sandbag the implementation of the law which in the end makes it more costly, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy . Isn't it the truth really that the health care legislation should actually save money once fully implemented. Like health care reform the tunnel will also have a positive overall effect by creating jobs and commerce if it is built without delay. Opponents won't agree with the analogy but I think it's a reasonable one.

I have posted my position on the tunnel previously. I beleive that we should move forward as quickly as possible with construction of the tunnel based on the almost immediate benefits it would bring the region once construction is underway and when it is completed.


The fact is the overruns that they are making so much noise about this time are directly related to their effort to delay the tunnel, a point that seems to be missing in their reporting. Capitol projects on the scale of the tunnel project are going to have cost overruns people and historically you’d have a hard time finding otherwise if you cared to look. The overruns they speak of in their latest posts are directly related to the State trying to retain constructions teams vying for the massive contract to build it.

Apparently large construction companies only have so much time to waste too, and must be on to building other actual projects. Delaying the project cost money, and standing around doing nothing waiting for the politicos in Seattle to make up their mines delays construction.

But they won’t bring the cost of delaying construction part of the story up because it doesn’t serve the no tunnel crowd’s agenda. So they continue to hammer on the delusional argument that there apparently can't be a dollar of cost overruns for the city if the tunnel is ever built. Mayor McSwhinn and his crowd are like petulant children hoping that even though every other government entity in the state has decided the tunnel is the way to go they hope the delaying will eventually kill the tunnel. They somehow feel they are justified in delaying the project rather then accept the compromise reach by all the other known government entities involved, including the City of Seattle before McSwhinn showed up, after ten years of wrangling and manipulating ad neausum all the other known viable options.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mariners And Washington Nationals Only Teams To Have Never Played In World Series

Congratulations San Francisco, your a marvelous city. Your blue collar Giants won the National League Pennant tonight. I bet some tea party nut job somewhere is looking up the word "fix" in the dictionary right now for his protest sign because the Giant's win surely made Nancy Pelosi jump for joy.

The Texas Rangers won the American league Pennant last night and will meet the Giants in the World Series. The Rangers win now means that there are only two major league teams who haven't ever been to the World Series. The Washington Nationals, a franchise that isn't even five years old yet and your doormat Seattle Mariners. Yes, I said the Washington Nationals! When will the absentee Japanese owner of the Mariners pay enough attention to realize the squeaky clean Mariner de facto owner godfathers Chuck Armstrong and Howard Lincoln need to be dumped!

Vashon Islanders War on Crime Beginning To Pay Off

Two people where arrested for burglaries on Friday, and police expect more arrests.

DeMint Set To Attack PBS and NPR Funding

"With record debt and unemployment, there's simply no reason to force taxpayers to subsidize liberal programming they disagree with".
Another wack job tea bagger asshole running wild! Conservative Senator Jim DeMint wants to introduce legislation to cut $430 million from NPR's and PBS's budgets. The cover story he's pushing, it is supposedly because of the firing by NPR of Juan Williams and to reduce government spending. These fascists won't be satisfied till the only channel is Fox News. Maybe this shenanigan will final get liberals to the polls.

Auto Tuning The News Obama's Analogy About The Republicans Driving The Car In The Ditch

I've auto tuned the President's speech from the Patty Murray Rally at the University of Washington. The part containing the President's analogy about the Republican driving the car in the ditch.

video

Women's Voting Expert Says Women May Save Elections For Dems

You go girl!

Friday, October 22, 2010

My Photos From Murray Obama Rally

I spent most of yesterday involved with the Patty Murray President Obama Rally at the University of Washington. Later when I got home it amazed my how the MSM seemed to underplay the fact that over 30,000 people showed up for this rally. Many of the news segments I saw on local TV spend much of the time focusing on a small handful of crackpots who were outside the hall. One holding a enormous Obama as Hitler sign or one displaying a sign so cluttered and hard to read that no one would normally of pay any attention to it.

I had volunteered to work the event as an usher. I snapped a few photos. I think it important to attend political rallies. Mainly because you get to hear the candidates speeches in complete context and not in TV sound bites, which often focus on the negative or some unexpected gaffe. But I was inspired again hearing Obama cover many of themes of his presidency during his speech. Here are the photos I took from my usher job location. Clicking on the photo will produce a higher resolution.

My President works the hand line

This wide photo of Obama has a rather 19th century historic feel to it

The President rocks the house

Gregoire warms the crowd up

Before the doors opened

Murray rallies the troops

If you'd rather have a sample of the enormous enthusiasm in the hall and hellfire of Obama's speech check out the video.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thanks To The Labor Movement You Have The Weekend Off

Often forgotten or taken for granted. Today we see many of the gains made by organized labor being taken away or not offered at all in the case of the off shoring of American jobs. As the poster says: "Power Concedes nothing without a demand. It Never did and it never will", a quote attributed to Frederick Douglass.

Ask yourself, would there be the same disparity in the distribution of wealth between the rich and poor in this country today if we actually had a strong viable and united labor movement. I think not. This is not Socialist propaganda it's a fact. Workers have drank the kool aide given to them by there benevolent lying corporate masters in most cases. A poor working person voting Republican? My god! Why would you vote for someone who has no interest in you other then keeping you in everlasting ignorance and paying you as close to minimum wage as you'll accept.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sheriff Says Hard Drug Use Fueling Burglary And Theft Problem On Vashon Island

There's been a recent increase in burglaries and thefts on Vashon Island. Normally Vashon is a peaceful place with little crime. Home for lots of happy go lucky artist types.

But Islanders fed up with several recent rather dramatic burglaries organized a public forum to discuss the problem. Sgt Calvin Beringer from the King County Sheriff's Department briefed a crowd of over 100 Islanders on Monday night at the first public meeting of the group. Beringer talked about the scope of the problem and even indicated that deputies have a good idea who the perpetrators may be. The police continue to build a case against these suspects. The police also believe that heroin and meth use has lead to the rise in thefts and burglaries on the Island.

The forum was organized by a few of Vashon's concerned citizens. The group called itself Vashon Says No To Crime. With the help of the Vashon Maury Island Community Council they have planned a follow-up meeting for 7pm on October 28th at the main fire station. All are welcome.

Find more information on upcoming meetings on this groups Facebook events page

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shut Your Computer Off When You Leave

Turns out it save massive amounts of energy...

Why Can't Democratic Candidates Explain The Stimulus Program

It troubles me when Democratic candidates, like Patty Murray in Washington State, cant't articulate the benefit of the stimulus program when their opponents used it to attacked them as being out of touch reckless spenders. Instead the right has successfully used the stimulus program against Democrats by selling the argument that it has been a total waste of billions of dollars.

For sure one of the narratives we will hear ad nauseam after the election if the House or Senate is lost to the Republicans will be the story of the failure by the the Democratic Party to get the message across that the stimulus is what actually saved the economy from a deep depression.

Monday, October 18, 2010

New York's The Rent Is Too Damn High Party Candidate

Jimmy McMillan the Rent Is Too Damn High Party candidate at the NY Governor's Debate.

Vashon Islander Offers $1000 Reward for Information about METH Labs On Island

For the next 72 hours Islander offers to pay $1000 reward to first person that provides information to police that leads to arrest and conviction of an operator of a METH lab on the island. See comments on Beachcomber story about Vashon Island Says No To Crime meeting taking place this evening at 6pm McMurray School.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The US Chamber Of Outsourcing

People who've had their job outsourced should "stop whining" according to the head of the US Chamber of Commerce. This clip drives home the practice of how many American companies and their investors really feel about keeping jobs they create here in the US. To them it's all about the bottom line. But more often then not their PR promotes the lie of their concerned about the vitality of the community and jobs. I feel like puking every time I see one of these TV ads where some corporation's message is that they really care about the plain local folks like you.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Is ADHD Caused By An Outdated Educational System

Sir Ken Robinson, with the help of a animator, lays out an fascinating theory on the possible causes of ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder) in children.



via: The Daily Dish

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sick of the Stonewalling Compelling Reasons For Building The Deep Bore Tunnel


Nearly four years ago I argued in a post that the deep bore tunnel was the real compromise for replacing the crumbling Alaskan Way viaduct architectural monstrosity. Although we have moved closer to the actual beginning of construction there still remains a number of very vocal entities in Seattle who continue to act like Chicken Little when the idea of getting on with building the damn thing comes up.

The main opposition seems to be Mayor McShwinn, bicyclists, certain eggheaded writers at the SLOG that love hairsplitting , a number of provincial thinking no tunnel folks, who I doubt own vehicles or need to use the viaduct on a regular basis, the don't tax me no matter what conservatives like Tim Eyman and people who like the view while driving on the upper deck of this deathtrap of a highway.

Many Seattleites remain skeptical. I think this is due mostly to the misinformation, scare tactics, stonewalling, vague conspiracy theories put forth by the opponents and red herrings arguments coming from narrow-minded politicians, environmentalists who ride bicycles as the main means of transportation and anti-tunnel revisionists partially listed in the previous paragraph. Presented with the realities and benefits of building the tunnel I think that a majority of the citizens will come to the conclusion that the deep bore tunnel should be built.

It was a memorable moment when candidate McShwinn ended up mitigating his position in opposition to the tunnel just prior to the election, based on his advisors realizing that it would mean a probable election defeat. We know now that that this political theater was actually quite disingenuous. McShwinn never really liked the tunnel idea based on the ideology that everyone in the future apparently will be riding a bicycle, taking a bus or perhaps using space ships as a means of transport to get goods to market. Something that is unrealistic given the present day and foreseeable future demand for a corridor other than I-5 that will be needed to move people and deliveries through the city using personal or business trucks and vehicles.


McShwinn remains the main obstacle to progress. Even the City Council, to their credit, revolted and decided that it’s now time to move on towards actual construction. I think the citizens of Seattle and the region have had enough of the Chicken Little ideologically driven nay-sayer's conspiracy theories that drive their arguments in opposition to constructing the tunnel. The message from the opponents of the tunnel often appears to be based in a condescending form of social engineering that tells people, "we know best when it comes to people who still find it necessary to drive a personal vehicle",  or that building a tunnel is is some vague way an attack on Seattle's "values".  Please!

The main “red herring” argument against the tunnel seems to be that it will cost too much and create “cost overruns” that the city’s taxpayer will be force to pay. Lesser “pink herring” arguments runs the gambit and go something like this: That a tunnel built so close to the water will be an engineering impossibility and will probably cave-in during an earthquake. That there won’t be enough exits from the tunnel directly to downtown. That commuters won’t be as inclined to use public transit or ride their bike to wherever their going instead of driving. Somehow they surmise that a major traffic corridor through the city isn’t needed anymore once the viaduct is removed. Their current talking point is surface traffic increasing because tolling will make drivers more inclined to find other routes. An argument that fails to point out that 100% of the traffic will be on the surface streets if we go with their vague idea of using surface streets and transit. Finally, they like the views from the viaducts northbound upper deck when driving into town with their out of town relatives in the car. If those excuses don't hold water just claim that the sky is falling.

Let’s look at these arguments.

It cost too much and cost overruns:

Please name me a major capital hybrid project of this scale anywhere in the world in the last 100 years that didn’t have cost overruns? The Brooklyn Bridge had cost overruns. Have a contractor give you a estimate for major work on your house and the rule of thumb is that it will probably cost more then you thought it would cost in the beginning so add 15% to the estimate.

We should be looking at this project like the once in a lifetime project it is, and therefore it’s going to cost lots of money simply based on the size and scope of the undertaking. Considering the numerous long-term benefits the replacement of the viaduct and seawall will surely generate its worth it, given the increase in commerce it will bring for the region and its inhabitants. It’s really more about controlling cost overruns.

Lawmakers have gone on the record repeatedly stating that cost overruns will be controlled and the city’s responsibility for paying them mitigated. But, the Mayor continues to use this dishonest sandbag in a rather outmoded way. McShwinn really doesn’t want a tunnel at all and I believe he really never did. Most reasonable lawmakers, who have to answer to their constituents too, have moved on. They, at least, have the courage to see that building the tunnel is the real compromise here given the options that we have all been talking about ad nauseum for years now.

That the tunnel can’t be engineered safely, will be a construction nightmare and unsafe. The tunnel will eventually probably “cave-in”, during the eventual earthquake:

Hey scardicats,  please! They build a tunnel under the English Channel didn’t they? We even built the downtown transit tunnel that most people don’t feel is going to collapse anytime soon. Modern engineers must have a good laugh about this objection. Bold engineering ideas help build this country. It’s duplicitous to say this tunnel will ultimately be unsound. If the region has a “big one” earthquake most shit will cave in folks no matter how well or when it was built. Earthquake faults are better understood today and engineers will take that into consideration. Digging tunnels is common place nowadays and this tunnel is nothing that modern engineers can't handle.

There won’t be enough exits directly to downtown:

It is truly the nature of the beast. Eventually people will adapt to the changes and learn how to navigate the new highway system. Though there are varying opinions about such matters, such as the loss of access ramps to downtown. I think overall the tunnel will be a traffic moving improvement and environmental benefit by reducing the overall amount of traffic over time given the combination of plans to improve surface transit , foot and bicycle traffic options.

People will still be more inclined to use cars rather then public transit:

When someone lives on Vashon Island, as I do, or in West Seattle or Ballard they actually need their car to efficiently get to central Seattle and beyond. Businesses have to make deliveries and trucks need to move goods. Not everyone wants or desires to use public transit or bicycles. People will use public transit when the city builds a viable transit system. Seattle’s politicians and citizens have missed the boat when it comes to actually building a real transit system in this region for years and we continue to lag behind most modern cities. The politics of having a modern transit system caught up in the same process that now stalls the tunnel construction. We continue the local political tradition of having a lack of vision or chutzpa. 

We don’t need two major traffic corridors anyway. Let them use I-5:

This excuse is tied to “let them use I-5 for a while as the only way to get to town and then for sure they’ll be willing to consider riding a bike”. Seattle and the region need two major traffic corridors through the city. I-5 was not designed to handle the traffic increase that would take place if the highway 99 were not available. Commerce must move goods and services to market. Emergency response services would be impaired. You can’t use a bicycle or the bus if you’re a plumber going from south Seattle to Ballard to a job site.

The sky is falling:

Perhaps on a second term for Mayor McGinn

But there are also many compelling reason why constructing a deep bore tunnel is the best option for the city. Here are a few:

Safety:

Everyone agrees that the Viaduct needs replacing, is falling down and that a major earthquake could cause the structure to actually collapse with deadly results. The construction of the new tunnel also will include construction of a new seawall replacing the failing one that now exists.

Quality of Life:

Once the tunnel is constructed and the viaduct demolished Seattle should have one of the best waterfronts environments in the world. Everyone, even the “stop the tunnel” crowd, agrees the viaduct has been an architectural mistake. It’s ugly, blocks the waterfront from the downtown business district and actually serves as a “fence” that blocks economic development from happening in what potentially could be one of the most viable redeveloped neighborhoods in the world.

Small parks will line the areas where the viaduct once lived and promenades and city streets will replace most of the urban mess that now exists. New Businesses and shops are sure to thrive along this new viaduct-less thoroughfare. Hundreds if not thousands of new jobs can be generated by the redevelopment of the area. Seattle’s downtown will once again be connected more directly to the water. Traffic and smog will be reduced while walking and bicycles traffic will be enhanced and safer.

Jobs and more Jobs:

I have argued for some time that building the tunnel and seawall will bring thousands of union wage jobs during construction. Call it a super massive local stimulus plan if you want.These workers will be buying goods and services in the local economy. Billions of dollars will be pumped into the area directly related to tunnel constructions. In this time of economic insecurity it’s a no brainier. Local labor leadership and workers agree and estimate 30.000 new construction jobs with be created. As I said above the redevelopment of the neighborhoods surrounding the new tunnel will also create countless jobs.

The new deep bore tunnel option will keep traffic flowing during construction:

Completing the tunnel before the viaduct is removed will assure the least amount of disruption of the thousands of cars that use the corridor each day. A surface only option or replacement option would severely disrupt traffic for years during demolition and/or replacement. Most political leaders realized that keeping the viaduct open to traffic during construction of the tunnel was the real compromise.

Need for Action:

As I have said above. Most political types and many citizens agree that it's a time for action. 10 years or discussing about what to do about the viaduct is long enough. Had Mayor McSchwinn not been elected I think this project would have be closer to starting today. McSchwinn and his anti-tunnel allies need to realize that the tunnel “is the compromise” that knowledgeable citizens, stakeholders, most of our elected officials, and many sincere citizen activists have reached. Further delay will only add more cost to the project in the long run.

It’s time to build the tunnel, so let's get on with it.

Paul Krugman Stole My Idea On How To Deal With The Foreclosure Crisis

"What should be happening? The excesses of the bubble years have created a legal morass, in which property rights are ill defined because nobody has proper documentation. And where no clear property rights exist, it’s the government’s job to create them.

That won’t be easy, but there are good ideas out there. For example, the Center for American Progress has proposed giving mortgage counselors and other public entities the power to modify troubled loans directly, with their judgment standing unless appealed by the mortgage servicer. This would do a lot to clarify matters and help extract us from the morass."


I proposed this idea two days ago. Not bad for a grouchy unwashed old blue collar iconoclast, eh? Does this make me mainstream media? Now it's time for the politicos to actually make it happen. Loan modification here we come.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

KOMO News Reports On Vashon Says No To Crime Public Forum

Vashon Island, the artsy-fartsy hippie paradise, has a drug problem. I'm not talking about someone smoking a joint or perhaps drinking too much occasionally. It's far worse than that. I think it may be time that residents of the island stop denying the existence of the other elephant in the room.

I don't care if someone wants to waste their life using METH or any other hard drug. But I do care when their personal selfishness and total lack of empathy for others leads to some of these unfortunate souls believing it's acceptable to break-in to my neighbor's home, business, shed or vehicle and steal shit to support their sickness. Learning the consequences of their actions is most often the best thing for this type of user, but they often don't realize it when they're in the midst of the craziness.

There is also the very real heartbreak and fear that it brings to the loved ones of the users themselves. Families destroyed, children abused, people around them manipulated and victimized in a cesspool of self indulgence. Hard drug users are often hopelessly lost, and in the fleeting moments when the drug haze clears they usually know it. But often they can see no way out. But there is a way out I assure you. It begins when the thought enters your head that life isn't all about you and your thinking then begins to turn to how your drug use may be effecting others.

Watch For Me On KOMO News at 11pm Tonight

You may see something about this upcoming public forum.

Great Interactive Graph On How Unemployment Relates to GDP


This Washington Post's interactive graph and economics for dummies lesson is quite entertaining an informative, and I think passes the smell test. Robert Reich, the former secretary of labor, has of course been pointing out the need for the economy to grow faster to keep up with job losses even though the "recession is over".

Stupid Main Stream Media Airhead Question of the Day

MTV, BET and CMT aired a hour long town hall style "conversation with the president" today. Thousands of questions were submitted for the President via twitter. Two or three questions actually made it through the filters to the President. The question below bubbled to the surface when they went to Katie Cook, the CMT anchor person, who asked it during the rather questionably conceived segment called, "what's your greatest fear or what's your greatest hope". Katie decided that of the thousands of substantive fears and hopes people must of tweeted this should get asked of the President.

"Mr. President my greatest fear is
that we are turning into a Communist Country?"

My Question For The President

Today at 4pm Eastern the President will hold a town hall meeting on several networks including MTV. Below is a screen shot of my tweeted question for Obama.

I think it's time that the administration look at legislation that would facilitate banks to modify loans given the leverage on them caused by the foreclosure crisis. I think that most progressives agree that the current loan modification program is somewhat of a joke. Apparently bankers are not willing to agree to modify many loans because they feel it is not to their advantage, in spite of the fact we have given them billions of dollars. I'm hoping the current crisis will finally force their hand and that politicians will work to facilitate the process with new legislation.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

2010 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard Has Washington State Near Top


Washington State ranked 5th in the 2010 study from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. The Council is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to advancing energy efficiency as a means of promoting economic prosperity, energy security, and environmental protection.

Jimmy Stewart Plays You And Mr Potter Plays (Insert Your Mortgage Holder Here)

Foreclosure Crisis May Finally Force Mr. Potter’s Hand

It could be a wonderful life after all.

There is a growing buzz on Internet blogs that the current loan foreclosure crisis could leverage banks and loan service companies into finally taking a more serious approach towards loan modifications with homeowners having problems with their mortgages.

Under the loan modification alternative to foreclosure scenario banks forced into a corner because of fraudulent foreclosure practices and documentation would see it is in their interest to modify a homeowners loan rather then getting nothing. Thus bankers fearing loses or lawsuits from investors who hold these bundled securities may be force into a willingness to work out a loan modification with a delinquent homeowner rather then foreclose.
"A coalition of as many as 40 state attorneys general is expected Wednesday to announce an investigation into the mortgage-servicing industry, an effort some of them hope will pressure financial institutions to rewrite large numbers of troubled loans. The move comes amid recent allegations that mortgage-servicers, which include units of major banks such as Bank of America Corp., submitted fraudulent documents in thousands of foreclosure proceedings nationwide [...] The attorneys’ general immediate aim is to determine the scale of the document problems and correct them. But several of them have said that the investigation could force the lenders and servicers to agree to mass loan modifications or principal forgiveness schemes. Other possibilities include financial penalties or changes in mortgage servicing practices. Lenders and servicers have largely resisted reducing principal on mortgages, instead focusing on interest-rate reductions or term extensions. Banks say they are worried about lawsuits from investors, some of whom could lose money in a principal write down. Former New Jersey attorney general Peter Harvey, now a trial lawyer in New York, said that a settlement with state attorneys general would likely “to give the banks some cover” to make changes that might otherwise result in lawsuits by investors in mortgage-backed securities."
If so, the fraud-ridden mortgage crisis could morph into a program that would force the greedy bastards to do what the Obama administration’s loan modification program apparently couldn’t. Any politician worth his salt should be jumping at the chance to submit legislation to make the process of loan modification easier for the bank and the homeowners involved.

So, screw you Mr. Potter!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Republican Lies About National Debt Rarely Challenged By MSM


Dino Rossi accuses Patty Murray of 18 years of reckless spending while she been in the other Washington. But the actual numbers indicate that over two-thirds of the current national debt has accumulated under the last three Republican Presidents. Why weren't the angry teabaggers and Dino yelling about spending then?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Vashon Island's Crime Problem


I've put together a community meeting on October 18 at 6pm at McMurray School to discuss the recent rash of burglaries and thefts that have been taking place on Vashon Island. This includes an armed home invasion that took place in August. The meeting will feature a community policing spokesman from the King County Sheriff's Department followed by a questions and answer session.

I'm hoping the meeting will be the begining of a dialog between Vashon residents about what's at the root of the problem and what we can do about it. All are welcome. Many islanders suspect that an increase in hard drug use on the island including a METH problem have fueled the increase in crime.